How to Keep Your Property Safe and Tenants Happy During the Festive Season
Christmas is coming. A time of good cheer and good food. A time for families, parties and presents. A time when people leave their homes, and when bad weather can burst pipes. A time to make certain that your tenant knows you care. Here are our top 10 tips to help you make sure your tenant has a great Christmas and brings in the New Year safe and sound.
1. Ask about Your Tenant’s Holiday Season Plans
If your tenants plan to be away for more than a couple of nights, you should suggest that they leave the heating on low. This will ensure that if there is a cold snap, the water pipes won’t freeze and burst.
If your tenants plan to be away for more than a couple of weeks, you should review the terms of your landlord insurance and ensure that your property is still covered when empty – some policies include clauses that nullify insurance if the property is empty for long periods.
2. Book a Pre-Christmas Property Inspection
Irrespective of whether your tenant is taking a festive break, a pre-Christmas property inspection is a good idea – especially if it has been a few months since your last inspection. This will give you a chance to address any of your tenant’s concerns and compile a list of essential pre-Christmas maintenance. Getting these done before Christmas will help your tenant remain safe and comfortable.
3. Make Security a Priority
Christmas is a favourite time for burglars. They aren’t concerned about your tenant’s kids’ gifts. They would rather their own kids had them. They will take advantage of any empty home over the Christmas and New Year period. You should remind your tenants of this, and give them tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
For example, your tenants should ensure that:
- Gifts are not on display.
- They don’t advertise the gifts received in your home by putting all that packaging in those see-through recycle bags – burglars lookout for these. Instead, take them straight to your local recycling depot.
- All windows and doors are securely locked when the property is empty.
- Security lights are on.
- An internal light is left on, or, better still, a timed light switch is used to make it look as if someone is home.
There are also some things that you can do, such as making sure that fences are secure and that gates lock effectively.
4. Speak to Your Tenants About Insurance
Many tenants are under the false impression that their personal belongings are covered by your insurance. Remind them that this isn’t the case. Even if this is stipulated in the tenancy agreement, it is worth explaining again. Put it in an email so there is no confusion.
5. Be Clear about Christmas Decorations
You want your tenants to enjoy Christmas, and an integral part of this is allowing Christmas decorations. However, you should be clear about what you are happy with. Nails in walls may be a no-no, but hanging decorations with Blu-Tack or 3M Command strips and hooks may be more acceptable. Remind the tenant that damage must be paid for.
While discussing Christmas decorations, if the property is going to be empty from Christmas going into the New Year, it is advisable that tenants should take down their Christmas decorations before they vacate the property. If they don’t, it could show that the property is vacant – and that could invite burglars, vandals and squatters.
6. Point out Added Fire Risks
Christmas candles and fairy lights are fire risks. Overloaded electric sockets and overheated Christmas tree lights are common causes of house fires at Christmas. Remind tenants to properly extinguish all naked flames, switch off fairy lights, and unplug tree lights before retiring to bed.
7. Set Party Rules
Everyone loves a Christmas house party. Everyone except the uninvited neighbours, that is. Ask your tenants to be respectful of their neighbours. If your tenants plan to hold a festive party, ask them to keep the neighbours informed and to keep the music to a reasonable level late at night. The last thing you want is to be called by the police because your tenants are causing a nuisance by partying loud and late.
8. Put Together an Emergency Action Plan
You want to enjoy Christmas, too. The last thing you need is a call from your tenants demanding a burst pipe is fixed on Christmas Eve. Speak to all your maintenance team – Gas Safe registered engineers, plumbers, electricians, etc. – and make sure they are available for an emergency call-out. Give their numbers to your tenants, and make sure they know the circumstances in which they can make an emergency call. This is a peace of mind for all.
9. Make Sure You Know Your Property Manager’s Festive Period Hours
If you use a property manager to manage your property, make sure that you and your tenants know the property manager’s opening hours. Also, make sure that you have a dedicated emergency contact.
10. Finally, Spread a Little Festive Cheer
Last, but not least, send your tenants a Christmas card and maybe an appropriate gift. Nothing too expensive, but something thoughtful. Keeping your tenants onside and happy will help you to maximise your buy-to-let profits. Sincere Christmas wishes will help to cement your landlord/tenant relationship – and that is one of the keys to keeping good tenants for longer.
Our landlord clients know how to relax at Christmas. We take the strain while they benefit from effortless property management. To find out how you could do the same, contact Ezytrac today at +44 0 1522 503 717.
Live with passion